Jun 19, 2007

Facing Adversity: Gaza Baptist Church

In Gaza, not all the population adheres to the Islamic religion. It is true that out of almost one and a half million Palestinians only 2,000 claim to be some sort of “Christian,” and of that number about 200 would be classified “evangelical.”

Today, I would like to focus on one group. The Gaza Baptist Church is the center of worship for between 150-200 Christians. These Christians live daily in the midst of adversity. They live with bombs going off around them and amid persecution from Muslims and nominal “Christian” groups.

According to a WorldNetDaily article, the pastor, Hanna Massad, also holds a United States citizenship and is eligible to return to the USA. He will not leave, however. Pastor Massad is staying where God has called him- to the place where he leads a small remnant of believers. It reminds me of the attitude of Paul:
To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. (1 Corinthians 4.11-13 ESV)

This small band of Palestinian Baptists endure hardship as good soldiers of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2.3-4). They serve as a shining example of how to walk through adversity. I must say, their example has spoken to me personally. I pray that God strengthens me through any adversity I may face in my life. Whether it be the threat of death or just political persecution. The same God that strengthens the Gaza Baptist Church is the God that strengthens me and my family.

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